After overcoming Portuguese giants Porto 5-0 on aggregate, Liverpool will be looking forward to their return to the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since the 08/09 season. Friday’s draw will reveal who their opponents will be and here we will look at the possible opponents Liverpool may face as they seek to advance to the semi-finals.
Italian defending Serie and Coppa Italia champions, as well as last year’s Champions League finalist, Juventus are a strong team Liverpool may be drawn against. Although they lost Leonardo Bonucci in the summer to AC Milan, the Old Lady still have one of Europe’s strongest defenses with Gianluigi Buffon on goal and experienced center backs Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli. This coupled with their organization under coach Massimiliano Allegri would certainly be a test, even for Liverpool’s in form front three. Juventus are also a threat going forward with Argentine forwards Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala, who proved the difference against Tottenham in the previous round. This would certainly be an interesting tie of offense versus defense.
A familiar opponent for Liverpool, the Citizens are proving to be one of the strongest teams in Europe this season. Much improved in the back, Nicolas Otamendi has gotten back to form and acquisitions including Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte have given the Citizens much needed stability. With Benjamin Mendy and Vincent Kompany returning from injury, Manchester City seem pretty solid looking forward to their next Champions League tie. Goalkeeper Ederson Moraes, bought from Benfica, has allowed coach Pep Guardiola to truly incorporate his style of play into his side as he is so comfortable on the ball the Brazilian can play out of pressure and maintain possession through both short and long passes. Moving forward, the Citizens have been magnificent through the unbelievable form of players like Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, and Sergio Aguero to name just a few. However, Liverpool are one of the few teams to beat Manchester City this season and will fancy their chances against the Premier League champions elect. This would be another interesting tie many neutrals would love to see.
Two time defending Champions League champions Real Madrid are an opponent Liverpool would like to avoid. They have struggled in the league as they are currently third, a total of 15 points behind rivals Barcelona and have surprisingly already been eliminated in the Copa del Rey by Leganes. With the Champions League their only hope for success, Los Blancos are throwing everything to win it an unprecedented third consecutive time. They have great recent experience in the competition and have players and a coach who know how to win this tournament, something Liverpool doesn’t have. With a leader in Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo coming back into his world class form, Real Madrid are certainly a team to avoid.
The capital side topped a difficult group earlier in the competition that contained Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. After overcoming Shakhtar Donetsk on away goals, Roma have joined Europe’s elite eight and will be hoping for a kinder draw than Liverpool. Boasting great players such as Liverpool target goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Radja Nainggolan, and Edin Dzeko, Roma will not be easy by any stretch of the imagination. However, with respect to Roma, they aren’t as strong as the other teams in the draw and will certainly be a team Liverpool will be content getting on Friday. They failed yet again to challenge for the Serie A, currently fighting to retain a Champions League place for next season, and fell to Torino in the round of 16 of the Coppa Italia. They will hope to be a threat moving forward through the improving Cengiz Under and striker Edin Dzeko.
Perhaps the most surprising side to reach this stage of the competition, Sevilla along with Roma are sides Liverpool will certainly be favorites to beat in the quarter finals. Currently nine points away from a Champons League place on the league, but in the final of the Copa de Rey, Sevilla have had an up and down season. They have been largely inconsistent and have been poor in defense, something to worry about of they are drawn against Liverpool and their front line of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah. Sevilla’s striker Wissam Ben Yedder is the second highest scorer in the Champions League this seasons, only behind Cristiano Ronaldo. They would be a familiar opponent for Liverpool as they have already faced each other twice in the Champions League group stages. Both games needed in draws, but one would expect Liverpool to be too strong for the Spanish side this time around.
A favorite for some to win the Champions League this season, the German giants are certainly a strong opponent for any team to face. They have one of the strongest teams from starting eleven to their bench. With world class players like Jerome Boating, David Alaba, Thiago Alcantara, Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski, and more, Bayern Munich are definitely well stocked for a deep Champions League push. Under Jupp Heynckes who previously led the Bavarians to a treble certainly has the know how to coach his team to another Champions League semi-final appearance. They are once again dominating the Bundesliga and are through to the DFB Pokal semi-finals. Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp is very familiar with Bayern Munich having coached Borussia Dortmund and may be better equipped to face them, but it would still be a large ask for his Liverpool side. Along with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich are certainly a team Liverpool will want to avoid.
Last, but definitely not least, Barcelona are once again intent on challenging for European glory. Under Ernesto Valverde, the Catalan side has become a much more balanced side while still remaining very strong offensively. Eight points ahead of second place, they are well places to win La Liga and are in the Copa del Rey final. A team with amazing players including Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, and perhaps the best player in history Lionel Messi, Barcelona would be a huge test for Liverpool. This potential tie would be of added interest as both Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho have recently traded their Liverpool red for the Barcelona blue and red. Although the latter wouldn’t be eligible to play, perhaps Liverpool will have an added incentive to show their former players what they could have been a part of. Although Barcelona are very strong, they are not as strong as they previously had been. Barcelona would be favorites against Liverpool, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Liverpool advance.